TARPON SPRINGS -- In the theme of new beginnings arriving with spring, plans are back on track for Lowe’s Home Improvement warehouse to move into the land on the corner of Spruce Street and U.S. 19 in Tarpon Springs.
The land is next to Hydrologic Plumbing Supplies and across from Karl Flammer Ford -- the same 19-acre parcel the company was working with last time.
In 2012, four years after winning approval from the Pinellas County Commission to change the land use designation of the property from industrial to commercial (the previous owner was Acme Sponge and Chamois Company), Lowe’s backed out of the project, despite spending about $3 million in preparation including road and infrastructure improvements; part of those improvements connected Spruce Street to Live Oak Street, which now creates direct access from U.S. 19 to the sponge docks, and added a stoplight at the intersection of Spruce Street and U.S. 19.
TARPON SPRINGS -- Three new playgrounds are in the works after a 3-0 approval (Commissioners Townsend Tarapani and Rea Sieber were absent) by the City Commission on March 3.
The first, at Highland Nature Park, was granted to Melbourne-based ARC LLC/Play
space Services for $29,750 and is aimed at children ages 5 to 12. According to a memo from Recreation Superintendent Craig Dolan, the theme incorporates the nature park into its design, including tree-themed climbers and a log bridge.
TARPON SPRINGS - After a number of complaints from residents, the Tarpon Springs City Commission has begun looking into updating the city’s tree ordinance, which was passed in May 1990 and most recently amended in July 2006.
The ordinance, part of the comprehensive zoning and land development code, was written to “establish regulations in the City of Tarpon Springs that will have the effect of protecting, promoting and maintaining a healthy, diverse and mature canopy of native and naturalized hardwood and evergreen tree species.” In the 2006 amendment, language was added and rewritten to prevent developers from clear cutting parcels of land; any tree removed from a property, unless diseased or dying, must be replaced by the owner. Beyond the cost of the removal, the owner must also apply and be granted a $25 city permit to remove each tree; fines for not having that permit come in at about $1,500. The money from fines is then added to a cumulative bank account called the tree bank.
“I’m concerned that (the cost) is starting to have an adverse effect on residents,” said Mayor David Archie at the Jan. 27 City Commission meeting, citing the double cost for residents: first to take down and remove the tree and the second to replace it. “There should be some relief in there.”
TARPON SPRINGS - A Tarpon Springs man suffered serious injuries in a two-vehicle crash about 11:14 a.m. Wednesday, March 4, on East Lake Road in Tarpon Springs.
According to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol, John Valentic, 52, Palm Harbor was traveling northbound on East Lake Road in a 2013 Ford F150, and Harry Benton Anderson, 79, was traveling westbound on Pine Ridge Road in a 2002 Oldsmobile van.
Valentic failed to yield and traveled into the intersection, colliding with Anderson’s van. Valentic’s truck rotated and struck a sign. Anderson’s van rotated and went into a drainage ditch.
TARPON SPRINGS - Currently, Tarpon Spring’s wastewater treatment facility stores up to 4 million gallons of reclaimed water in two tanks off of Pine Street.
But the new reclaimed water storage tank and pump station, proposed to be located on the municipal golf course, would more than double the city’s storage capabilities.
The current reclaimed water system produces an average of about 2 million gallons of reclaimed water a day; between 1.4 million and 1.5 million gallons are used daily. About 900 customers use reclaimed water in Tarpon Springs: about 68 percent is used in residential areas, 14 percent by the golf course, 7 percent by commercial and institutional buildings, 6 percent by parks and cemeteries and 5 percent for industrial usage.
TARPON SPRINGS - As the second phase of the sponge dock improvement plan begins, the city of Tarpon Springs will begin improvements and enhancements to the sidewalks, crosswalks, docks, ramps and roadways along Dodecanese Boulevard.
Most of the plans revolve around fixing cracked sidewalks and streets and creating a more unified look along the docks, including material and staining.
“This is going to be an important aspect that you’re going to notice along the docks,” said City Manager Mark LeCouris. “It’s essential to the final look we want when this is all done.”
TARPON SPRINGS -- The Tarpon Springs City Commission voted unanimously Feb. 3 to approve the annexation and rezoning of less than an acre of land at the southwest corner of U.S. 19 and Klosterman Road to be developed as a RaceTrac gas station and market store.
The lot, located in the parking lot of St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs campus, was previously a Mobil Gas Station.
The Tarpon Springs Planning and Zoning Committee also approved the changes 5-0 on Jan. 12.
TARPON SPRINGS - With utility bills constantly rising, Duke Energy is helping some of its customers save some money with the Neighborhood Energy Saver program.
Begun as a pilot project in 2006 in Palmetto Park in St. Petersburg, the Neighborhood Energy Saver program provides free “energy makeovers” for low-income Duke Energy customers, making energy-efficient improvements to their homes that will show up as a decrease in their monthly utility bills.
TARPON SPRINGS - In 2014, The Shepherd Center distributed 675,000 pounds of food to those in need in north Pinellas County.
Volunteers and employees handed out 30,000 bags of groceries from the food pantry, served 26,000 meals at community kitchens and provided 1,700 Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners through Project T.H.A.N.K.S.
This year, in its new, larger building, the faith-based organization finally has the room to grow, literally and figuratively.
Indian Shores market INDIAN SHORES – The Indian Shores Sunday Morning Market is open in the parking lot of the Indian Shores Municipal Center, 19305 Gulf Blvd., every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through May.
The market is free of charge and family friendly. Leashed pets are welcome.
“All of our vendors are local, hands-on owners and operators,” said Market Operations Manager Laura Garrison. “We have organic produce, gourmet foodies and some of the best artists and crafters in the area. And we’re really happy to be part of the Indian Shores community. The administration and the police department of Indian Shores are an incredible group of people to work with.”
Winter festival PINELLAS PARK – A winter festival will be presented Sunday, March 29, noon to 4 p.m., at St. Hagop Armenian Church, 7020 90th Ave.
The festival will feature traditional Armenian food, music, pony rides, bounce house and more. Admission is free and all ages are welcome. For information, call 545-0380.
Non-trivial Pursuits program CLEARWATER – As part of the Non-trivial Pursuits series, the program “Malta – The Island of Mystery!” will be presented Monday, March 30, 7 p.m., at Chapel-By-The-Sea Community Church, 54 Bay Esplanade, Clearwater Beach.
Ruth Zammit will present the program. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn about Malta’s history and culture. The island republic at the heart of the Mediterranean was for 350 years the home of the mighty Knights of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta.
It boasts ruins of two-dozen temples built 1,000 years before the great Pyramids of Egypt as well as small fishing villages set in contrast to busy grand harbors.
Non-trivial Pursuits, a long-standing program at Chapel-By-The-Sea, offers presentations during the fall and winter on various topics scheduled on selected Monday nights. These presentations include religious and non-religious subjects.
The community is invited to these free programs. Light refreshments are served.
Reservations are requested. Call 446-0430.
Author program New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick will present a program Tuesday, March 31, 6 p.m., at Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave., Dunedin.
Bostwick will be on hand to launch her new book, “The Second Sister.” The author is best known for her Cobbled Court Quilt Series. There will be a reception at 6 p.m. followed by a program and book sale and signing at 7 p.m.
Sponsored by Dunedin Public Library, Dunedin Friends of the Library and Rainbow's End Quilt Shoppe, the event is free.